Sweden releases Russian scientist suspected in spying

A Russian researcher who was arrested in Sweden on suspicion of spying was released Friday after prosecutors found no grounds to press charges. The Feb. 15 arrest of Andrey Zamyatnin, 29, had angered Russia , which repeatedly demanded his swift release. Prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said Zamyatnin had gathered research material about biochemical engineering and gene modification from a university where he was a guest researcher and handed it to an employee at the Russian Embassy.

However, Zamyatnin could not be charged with espionage because the material did not pose a threat to Sweden 's national security or armed forces, Lindstrand told The Associated Press. "After doing a lot of pondering, I have concluded that this does not hold up," Lindstrand said. "If there is no threat to national security, one of the requirements (to charge him) falls. Then we have to let him go." Zamyatnin's lawyer Ola Salomonsson said his client was "relieved and very happy" to be released.

"This was a bit of a frightening situation for him," Salomonsson said, adding that Zamyatnin had not yet decided whether to stay in Sweden . "I think the whole thing scared him, and he needs to clear his mind and calm down before deciding what to do." Zamyatnin was escorted to the Russian Embassy after his release, but would not be available for interviews, Salomonsson said. He said Zamyatnin would likely sue Swedish authorities for being held in jail for nearly two months.

"He would like some kind of compensation, other than a bouquet of flowers," Salomonsson said. Russian Embassy spokesman Anatoly Kargapolov said Russia was happy about the release, but criticized Swedish authorities for keeping him in custody for so long.

"It is gratifying that, although later rather than sooner, common sense has prevailed," Kargapolov said. "But a legitimate question arises: Why on earth for about two months he was subjected to moral and physical pressure and sufferings?" He would not comment on Lindstrand's claim that Zamyatnin had provided embassy officials with research information.

Zamyatnin had been a guest researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala , north of Stockholm , where he studied viral infections in plants, the university said.

University spokeswoman Pernilla Bjork said none of the school's research is classified, but that Zamyatnin's actions were "uncomfortable and alien to an organization like ours."

She said university officials would meet with Zamyatnin to discuss his future. "We don't even know if he wants to come back," Bjork said, reports the AP.

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